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back to article GM hybrid SUV planned for 2011

General Motors (GM) has claimed that, come 2011, it will become the first car manufacturer to launch a plug-in hybrid SUV in North America. Saturn_Vue_Hybrid GM's Saturn Vue hybrid (above) could influce the 2011 hybrid Buick's design and drive Since crawling its way out of bankruptcy, GM has begun outlining its e-car future …

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FAIL

But it's still an SUV

I guess GM didn't learn.

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FAIL

3.6L V6

Ok I know that's economical for "them", and especially for a monstrosity like that, but what's the betting they've still only barely managed to wring three figures of horsepower out of it?

If it wasn't so tragic I'd be laughing.

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FAIL

10 miles, at low speeds

sounds a bit poor for a Sports Utility Vehicle.

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Megaphone

Electric SUV

WHY? Missing the point so, so badly.

Basic mathematics will show you that a battery like this, with both motors running at full pelt will keep your oversized chunk of wheeled metal speeding along for a grand total of just over 4 minutes. Seriously - no-one will ever use the electric option on this vehicle because it is useless. Not a fucking clue.

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Go

Not a V8 :)

@blackworx: the 3.6L V6 is being used in many GM cars, the latest incarnation does 300 HP with direct injection in the 2008+ Cadillac CTS. If anything, it takes less fuel than the non-DI version, which takes about 11-12 l/100 km in mixed driving in my 2004 CTS. It's not economical compared to a Ford Ka or whatever, but not bad compared to the 15 -20 l/100 Km with which the SUV drivers are being used to.

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Bronze badge
FAIL

Toyota are on their 3rd Prius Generation...

...and GM are still PLANNING their first?

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Great!

Now, where can I get nuclear weapons made from recycled materials that haven't been tested on animals?

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Listen up - GM tells us what we want (need) once again

I'm sure the combined mileage will be impressive, at least half that of conventional sedans. Who cares if its electrical requirements dictate double an average yearly household consumption to keep it charged.

I sure hope GM makes this thing weigh in at least 2 1/2 tons or more, I just don't feel safe in anything less . . .

How 'bout a Hummer with a 2 mile range?

-b

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WTF?

@ Frank Bough

err no - Toyota are only vaguely thinking about a plug-in (PHEV) version of the Prius. GM are jumping a whole generation by going direct to plug-in hybrid. For what its worth the Saturn product manager reckoned the V6 hybrid would average 30mpg. Even taking into account small US gallons that's not bad - if true - for a big SUV that can hit 60 in 7.3 seconds.

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FAIL

tokenism

A 3.6L V6 and a couple of token electric motors to play with in parking lots.

This kind of cr@p (plus those UAW votes) was apparently enough to convince Congress to keep sending bailout checks.

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Anonymous Coward

4.0L V6

I'll take the milage my 4.0L V6 will get over that GM vehicle. 28mpg isn't the greatest for highway use, but my little Mustang definately goes from point A to point B rather quickly. The fuel efficient vehicle I wanted was also too expensive (Honda not wanting to lower their prices), so gas would have to be over $5/gallon in the states before my milage wipes out the savings from the lower price (and my convertable looks better).

I had a 1984cc 4 cylinder in my '80 931. Got 30mpg with normal use and 20mpg if the turbo kicked in. Other than poor accel. in first gear, that car was the best I'd owned. Neutral handling and just the right size for driving (most cars have 'fat' people seats that are uncomfortable). It's a shame technology hasn't progressed as far as it should have in vehicles. Even my '93 Corsica would get nearly 27mpg and it was a 3.1L V6.

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Go

Finally, something that people want from GM!

This is very good news for heavily regulated Western countries - if the pricing is reasonable.

In many countries, where families are forced by the government to use bulky car seats for younger children, where children can not sit in the front seat of a car, and where car seats can only be used in the back - if a family is going to travel somewhere, an SUV or minivan is a requirement due to government safety mandates.

Gone are the days where you can stick a couple of kids in the front bench seat with seat-belts and a few kids in the back seat of a common sedan.

If a mother has a toddler and is going to pick up her child with some neighbor kids from a ball game - long distance is not a requirement, highway speeds are not often hit, but seating to hold children behind the front seat is a requirement!

Clearly, GM has targeted two interest groups: families with children with the SUV; commuters with the Volt. The inconvenience of plugging in a car is nothing in comparison the pain these groups experience when petrol prices spike.

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WTF?

Yea! it's still an SUV!

Anonymous Coward - But it's still an SUV # - I guess GM didn't learn.

I guess you are single, unmarried, childless, and didn't learn about marketing products to a large demographic group.

If you don't meet the targeted demographic, buy a Volt.

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WTF?

Behind the curve

This is a good example of why I'd have been happy just letting GM fail. Except I guess that would have turned Detroit from the Thunderdome to BEYOND the Thunderdome.

I guess the reason we didn't just let it happen and wall the city off is that it's supposed to be "Escape from New York."

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Grenade

@bart - Obama tells us what we want (need) once again

"Listen up - GM tells us what we want (need) once again #"

Nope. Democrat President Obama did that with the bailouts, edicts, and kicking out CEO's.

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20625.html

"Who cares if its electrical requirements dictate double an average yearly household consumption to keep it charged"

This is Obama's plan - increase U.S. electrical usage, stop drilling expansion in Continental United States to increase prices, U.S. government subsidies to increase the use of raw electricity (which can be produced from various sources), and reduce portable petrol usage.

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Megaphone

3rd generation... and no plug-in hybrid???

Frank Bough asks, "Toyota are on their 3rd Prius Generation... and GM are still PLANNING their first?"

The answer is: No - GM has had traditional hybrids for awhile.

http://www.google.com/aclk?sa=L&ai=CblrJi4p8SuuAPJvkM8zHpckHmcvPjQHDvP7ZCcmYrcICCAAQASgCUKjK4qD8_____wFgydbGi8Sk_BDIAQGqBBlP0DvvK5I4bxj0UmtkVfOfqJ9UZNW5wNj2&sig=AGiWqty0yMHsyjYlFjli7T7k6khgBMIkrQ&q=http://clickserve.dartsearch.net/link/click%3Flid%3D43000000141858584%26ds_s_kwgid%3D58000000003424782%26ds_e_adid%3D2500677143%26ds_e_matchtype%3Dsearch%26ds_url_v%3D2

GM has been planning plug-in hybrids, to augment their regular hybrids - Toyota has not offered a plug-in hybrid option (for their 3rd Generation Prius, when I just checked their web site.)

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To grenade boy or coward or whatever

Thanks for the clarification. I forgot that Obama is busy orchestrating a grand conspiracy to plunge the US into a socialist dictatorship akin to that guy with the funny mustache.

I am so naive . . .

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Gold badge
Unhappy

10mph

Like all these hybrids the motor is if for low speed use in towns with heavy traffic.

How often they are used will be a measure of how much time drivers are really spending in real traffic congestion or parking.

Which may be more than some of our more gun ho US drivers might expect.

Personally I think GM should have been allowed to fail. As has been said capitalism withouth failure is like Christianity without hell.

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Gold badge

A couple of @'s.

@David Halko: So you completely missed the much trumpeted (here and elsewhere) recent launch of the Prius PHEV then?

@The Author: I think you'll find that when GM and Opel head off in different directions, Vauxhall will be in the Opel camp. So we won't be seeing an RHD one in the UK unless GM either decide to sell Buicks here* or flog the design to the chinese** consortium aquiring GMs european operations.

*Unlikely - the terms of the sale prohibit any competing with their old subsidiary in its core markets for a while I believe.

**Porcine aerobatics required here.

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A few thoughts

Saturn: This was just bought by Roger Penske; Saturn is no longer completely under GM's umbrella. Big changes: every Saturn will come with one big lug nut per wheel, and after your first 500 miles, you get to climb the fence at their dealership and drink a glass of milk.

Prius on 3rd generation: Remember, there is an advantage in allowing others to make the first mistakes in a new area.

Prius: My boss at a former job had a Prius, claimed how great the mileage was. He got 40MPG driving like an old lady. My five year old VW Golf diesel was getting 45MPG with me driving like I was The Stig. I still say that the added weight/inertia of the batteries and accompanying electrical systems make the Prius less efficient than you'd at first think. That is a lot of mass to a car that size, and let's not even get into how environmentally damaging the manufacturing process for the batteries is.

SUV: Most GM buyers have families. We have two growing boys still required to use car seats. We take our four bikes and two beagles everywhere. We also live in a place that gets its share of ice and snow (on hilly terrain) in the winter. So yes, we own an SUV as well. And remember, an SUV is where the hybrid system makes the most sense: the added mass is small in proportion to the overall weight of the vehicle, and the SUV's mileage rating is such that 1MPG makes a bigger environmental difference than it does in the Prius range.

GM's problems: GM's main problems are due to the idiot deals they had with the unions back in the 60s and 70s ... the sort of deals that killed British Leyland, American Motors, and nearly killed Chrysler back in the late 70s/early 80s. GM and Ford are *still* paying for this, and it is such a drain on their resources. The cars GM makes are actually good these days. The Cadillac line, particularly the CTS, is great, the OnStar system is a great idea, the new Vette is fantastic, and last year Consumer Reports had Buick tied with Lexus at #1 in customer satisfaction. And as usual, the truck division makes the best things going in that area, though they are having to respond to Toyota's efforts in that area. (The good ol' free market; who knew?) They also made a shrewd move to buy Daewoo and have them make their small cars cheaply (ie at a profit) rather than continuing to make their own at a loss.

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WTF?

@ TeeCee

I think the point the author was making is that Vauxhall probably will go with Opel, so GM will look to build its RHD Chevrolet portfolio in the UK either using vehicles from its Korean arm GM Daewoo or RHD versions of US product like this Buick badged as Chevy. The spec of this Buick isn't so very far from a Lexus RX hybrid but will probably a fair bit cheaper. As Richard 102 points out, GM US product has been getting better of late.

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Go

@TeeCee - Prius PHEV

TeeCee asks, "So you completely missed the much trumpeted (here and elsewhere) recent launch of the Prius PHEV then?"

I have been watching the progress of plug-in vehicles with much anticipation - but just because a plug-in vehicle can start test drives in a country does not mean that it will be sold or go mainstream any time soon in the same country or another country.

In the United States, there have been individuals as well as companies who would take the Prius and turn them into plug-in hybrids for some time. Toyota should have offered plug-in, from the very beginning, with their hybrids - it would have given the consumer a real choice (to quickly stop using oil) when oil prices jumped, to stabilize the market prices!

I think we all need to be aware of what the end-goal is:

- If petrol usage was the sole goal - my old Dodge Colt achieved 40MPG highway mileage at a much lower cost than a Prius. Plenty of diesel cars in Europe are achieving prius-like efficiency in highway driving conditions using conventional technology.

- If elimination of petrol is the sole goal - a plug-in petrol based hybrid brings us much closer to realizing this goal. A plug-in natural gas or natural-gas hybrid is would help to achieve this, as well.

- If reduction of emissions is the sole goal, plug-in natural gas or natural-gas hybrid are much

better option.

Plug-in petrol based hybrids are an excellent option today, once the manufacturing costs can be reduced to cost less than burning the fuel. For city driving, this line is much clearer than for long-distance driving. For city driving, however, a plug-in electric vehicle would probably meet that requirement.

The value of hybrids to be reasonable, when petrol prices are very high and driving is primarily city driving. The manufacturing costs needed to come down on them, to increase their value. The plug-in hybrids will have a much higher value, since the use of electricity can help consumers tackle the problem of high petrol costs.

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Boffin

This could be a huge waste of time

This whole discussion would be moot, if the United States Congress would just allow drilling to occur where known oil deposits lay - world-wide consumers would not have needed to be suffering, losing their cars, losing their houses, losing their jobs, and starving due to increased energy costs decimating the global economy.

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